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Where we raise our children is a bit like where we end up tending a garden. The seeds are there, and if you watch over them and feed them and care for them properly they will grow. But, in addition, you have to interact with your particular local environment. If you happen to live in a desert climate, you have to do a lot of watering. If you live in a cold climate, you have to

cover the baby plants at night. If you live on sandy soil, you have to add compost. If there are a lot of snails, you have to come up with a counterplan. When I watched this video produced by Common Sense Media, I was struck by how the broadcasting environment in which we raise our children has changed in just the lifetime of our oldest son - who hasn't even turned 18 yet! And how that change has made the job of parenting even more complex. at least for those in Information Society countries. readmore logo

the 'distracted Americans'

by James Fallows

"At an individual level, I think the "distracted Americans" scare will pass. Either people who manage to unplug, focus, and fully direct their attention will have an advantage over those constantly checking Facebook and their smart phone, in which case they'll earn more money, get into better colleges, start more successful companies, and win more Nobel Prizes. Or they won't, in which case a distraction will be a trait of modern life but not necessarily a defect. At the level of national politics, America is badly distracted, but that problem long predates Facebook and requires more than a media solution." read more in the Atlantic

Dirty Little Secrets about Media Use

by Sierra Filucci

"Screen time limits. Movie ratings. Violent video games. With so many media issues to stay on top of, it's no wonder that most parents don't follow all the "rules" when it comes to kids and media use. And while some parents might brag about their media management ("We don't even own a television!"), most of us will divulge a few dirty little secrets when we're with our closest pals." go to commonsensemedia

Television-watching in India

"I dont know how my parents did it when we were kids but watching TV with Ashu is like Chinese torture. It does nt help that she has nt watched a full length Hindi or Tamil movie. Or a non-kiddy English film for that matter. It feels like a different Ashu is unleashed when I watch a Tamil movie and she catches a few scenes. "Why is that baby crying? Why is the mom leaving the baby and going to fight a war? Why is she crying now? So what if she came to know she is adopted? She has a mom and dad, right? Why does she care about her real mom who left her?" All this for a two minutes scene from Kannathil Muthamittaal. As if this is nt enough, there was a scene where Maddy and Iduppazhagi are hugging and the Akka character stops them. "Why cant they hug? Why is she stopping them? So what if they are nt married? So why dont they get married? Why should they ask the dads permission? Why dont they just get married and surprise him?" This from a girl who still informs me that shes going to the bathroom before she does! God save me! And here we were my sis and I as kids suffering through rape scenes, kissing scenes, hugging scenes, near rape before the hero saves his sister scene, rape after which the girl marries the rapist and lives happily ever after scenes, rape followed by suicide scenes, rape followed by murder scenes, MGR duet songs, Moods advertisement, etc... etc... etc... without batting an eyelid and without a peep! And in those days, parents could nt even change channels like we can today because there was only one channel to watch and most importantly there was no remote. And even if one was lucky to get the Srilankan channel Rupavahini , changing the channel meant that someone has to go to the terrace and change the direction of the TV Antenna to a certain angle and for people below to scream, "Yes, yes. STOP! No, no. Go back! Yes. A bit more. No No. Too much." Im sure its hilarious to hear now but it was one of the most frustrating thing, let me assure you. Coming back to the point, what am I doing wrong?" read more boosbabytalk blog


"Just one more text, honey"

By Julie Scelfo

"Much of the concern about cellphones and instant messaging and Twitter has been focused on how children who incessantly use the technology are affected by it. But parents' use of such technology -- and its effect on their offspring -- is now becoming an equal source of concern to some child-development researchers. ...

"'There's something that's so engrossing about the kind of interactions people do with screens that they wall out the world," she said. "I've talked to children who try to get their parents to stop texting while driving and they get resistance, 'Oh, just one, just one more quick one, honey.' It's like 'one more drink.'" go to The New York Times


SAN FRANCISCO — It’s 1 p.m. on a Thursday and Dianne Bates, 40, juggles three screens. She listens to a few songs on her iPod, then taps out a quick e-mail on her iPhone and turns her attention to the high-definition television. go to the New York Times

from Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom

"I continue to believe it's a phony palliative, most of the noise. You have the sense of "Oh yeah, I'm writing in my angry response to your post, and now I'm flaming back the person who flamed me back for my angry response." All of that stuff, you have the sense, "Yeah, I'm really engaged in something. I'm not alone. I'm not alone. I'm not alone." And yet, I don't think-maybe it's just me-but when I connect with a good book, often by somebody dead, and they are telling me a story that seems true, and they are telling me things about myself that I know to be true, but I hadn't been able to put together before-I feel so much less alone than I ever can sending e-mails or receiving texts. I think there's a kind of-I don't want to say shallow, because then I start sounding like an elitist. It's kind of like a person who keeps smoking more and more cigarettes. You keep giving yourself more and more jolts of stimulus, because deep inside, you're incredibly lonely and isolated. The engine of technological consumerism is very good at exploiting the short-term need for that little jolt, and is very, very bad at addressing the real solitude and isolation, which I think is increasing. That's how I perceive my mission as a writer-and particularly as a novelist-is to try to provide a bridge from the inside of me to the inside of somebody else." read the full American Voices Club interview


common sense media logo
Summer travel with or without technology?

by Regan McMahon

First Decision: Leave it at home OR you can take it with you. Second, follow the Inside/Out Rule. Third, share your playlist. Fourth, get a local media fix. Fifth, get off the phone. Sixth, friendly fire. Seventh, pack family games instead of video games. see common sense media article

Going hands-free in the car

"My phone was put on silent while I drove. And to help control any sudden urges to check the screen, I put the phone in my purse and placed it on the floorboard of the passenger seat where it could not be reached.

Immediately the atmosphere in the car changed. With one flip of the 'off' button, I was available to the little girls sitting in the backseat of the car. The fact that they noticed and responded to my newfound availability was evident. It became clear that my children had missed their mother chatting with them, pointing to things as we drove, and asking them questions about their day. With the phone turned off and out of reach, I was back in the driver's seat of life ... literally and figuratively." go to HandsFreeMama

Interested in more? Here are other articles:
video games US
toys time
technology social media
India consumer culture
child development

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